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View Full Version : Weird resonance when playing G



robinboyd
07-17-2017, 03:23 PM
Hi guys. I just got a new uke, and in general I love it (pics etc. coming soon in another post), but it does this weird rattly thing when I play a G, either on the open G string or on the third fret of the E string. It doesn't seem to do it when I play the same note on the C string. Any idea what might be causing this? The uke sounds wonderful otherwise, but the sound gets spoiled every time I play a G.

robinboyd
07-17-2017, 07:22 PM
Google tells me that this is probably a "sympathetic resonance." I still can't work out what is causing it though. None of the bracing seems to be loose. Could it be the bead that is used to secure the string for the string-through bridge?

70sSanO
07-17-2017, 07:39 PM
If it is in the body, it may be hard to find. The first thing I would do is to make sure the tuners are tight. Sometimes a nut will be a little loose and will buzz with certain notes. If it were a howl or a louder sound with a particular note, it may be the build, but a rattle is a different animal.

John

robinboyd
07-17-2017, 07:43 PM
It appears to be coming from the body. I think it has too much sustain to be at the tuners. I'm not sure how to describe it. If it were an engine noise, I'd say it was a hole in the muffler.

robinboyd
07-17-2017, 08:18 PM
Here is a video of it happening.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EenaVK5wrm0

mikebell48
07-17-2017, 10:03 PM
If you're not happy with the uke you should return it. If the buzz irritates you now it will only become a greater annoyance as time goes by.

robinboyd
07-17-2017, 10:06 PM
If you're not happy with the uke you should return it. If the buzz irritates you now it will only become a greater annoyance as time goes by.

That's all very well, but shipping was a large part of the cost of the uke and it was not bought from a major company, so it's not something that would be easy to return. I'd much rather get the issue sorted.

Croaky Keith
07-17-2017, 10:09 PM
I tend to get something like that on a few of my ukes, but it's never bothered me.
Does it still do it if you pluck further up the string, mid way along its length?
(I read somewhere, maybe on here, about unequal length of strings resonating differently.)

robinboyd
07-17-2017, 10:14 PM
Do you mean if I play a G on the C string? No, it doesn't. It's only when I play it on the G or E strings (and I get a little buzz playing an A as well, as shown in the video).

Croaky Keith
07-17-2017, 11:57 PM
I was meaning to pluck the string half way between where you fret & the saddle, but it's just something I read. :)

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 12:12 AM
Oh right. It doesn't seem to make a difference. I was playing with that a bit earlier to try and work out what was doing it. I just took out the beads but I haven't retuned it yet. If that doesn't work, then I'm stumped, but at least we have eliminated one variable.

DownUpDave
07-18-2017, 01:07 AM
That definitely sounds like a fret buzz. Does the action seem low?? Sight down the neck from body to headstock, does the neck have relief in the middle of it or is it flat. Can you see if it has a slight twist, wrap of hump. I would bet that you have a couple of frets that are too high. I had a Pono with a truss rod and if I adjusted the action too low I would hear the same thing.

Slide a matchstick or something similar between the strings and fretboard at the nut. Make sure the "matchstick or whatever" is just slightly taller than the clearance between strings and fret board. This will in effect raise the action and prove or disprove wether you have fret buzz.

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 03:14 AM
That definitely sounds like a fret buzz. Does the action seem low?? Sight down the neck from body to headstock, does the neck have relief in the middle of it or is it flat. Can you see if it has a slight twist, wrap of hump. I would bet that you have a couple of frets that are too high. I had a Pono with a truss rod and if I adjusted the action too low I would hear the same thing.

Slide a matchstick or something similar between the strings and fretboard at the nut. Make sure the "matchstick or whatever" is just slightly taller than the clearance between strings and fret board. This will in effect raise the action and prove or disprove wether you have fret buzz.

Actually, the action on this uke is higher than I would like. Also, the fact that the same note on 2 different strings triggers this really leads me to think that it is a sympathetic resonance rather than a fret buzz.

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 03:15 AM
I took off the beads and just used knots to attach the strings and it didn't help. I think we have eliminated that variable.

bearbike137
07-18-2017, 04:08 AM
I was going to suggest that it might be related to string ends (or beads) touching the underside of top, but it appears you checked that box. Possibly a loose brace - but it sounds to me like one of those really elusive wood ghosts! Half kidding - I once bought a brand new high end Taylor guitar that had this strange buzz just like that. I sent it back to them and it turned out that the guitar was perfect - but they couldn't get rid of the buzz (on certain notes only). They explained that sometimes vibrating wood will do that. They said my choice was to either live with it, return the guitar for a refund, or they would make a new top for it. I liked the guitar, so I opted to have them make a new top. Sure enough, with the new top, the buzz was gone!

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 01:38 PM
Unfortunately this one was made by a really small operator and postage was a large part of the cost. I don't think returning it is a viable option...

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 03:45 PM
One thing that I'll try, which will mitigate the problem, but not solve it, is to put a low G string on it. At the moment, chords like G and Em sound awful because there are 2 strings buzzing on the high G. Having a low G string would bring that down to 1, and eliminate the problem from many chords altogether. It's not really a solution, but at least it will help. I've got a few low G strings getting delivered next week, so we'll see how that goes.

70sSanO
07-18-2017, 06:09 PM
Maybe take all the strings off except the 4th (G) tuned to high G. While it might be time consuming you may be able to isolate the problem by pressing on different braces from inside the sound hole. You'll need something like a dental pick and possibly bend it with more curve. Can't say if this will help, but if you find the spot where it is buzzing, you may be able to have a luthier work that area.

John

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 06:19 PM
Thanks. I'll take it to a luthier when I have the money and have a bit more of a poke around when I have the time.

Demick
07-18-2017, 07:38 PM
There is evidence that there is a resonance with the frequency associated with G (happens on 2 strings when G is played). But still could be coincidence. So...
If there is a buzz on that instrument truely associated with that frequency, then we should be able to reproduce it in more places.
You say the 2nd string, 3rd fret (which is G) creates the buzz. So tune that string down a full step to D. Now G will be on that string on the fifth fret. See if the buzz is gone from the 3rd fret, but now has moved to the 5th fret. Now tune that string up two full steps to F#. In this case G has moved to the first fret. See if the buzz has followed, and only occurs now at the first fret.

If the buzz truely moves wherever G occurs, then I think that would confirm a resonance to that particular frequency on that instrument, and is not related to fret buzz, action, relief, etc.

dkp
07-18-2017, 07:51 PM
It is very common for ukuleles with a piezo or under-saddle pickup to develop a buzz in an empty jack, or by poor wire routing. Instruments with battery/EQ installed are also capable of buzzing. I've had this problem with my custom uke and with a Kamaka uke after installing Mi-Si pickups.

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 07:53 PM
There is evidence that there is a resonance with the frequency associated with G (happens on 2 strings when G is played). But still could be coincidence. So...
If there is a buzz on that instrument truely associated with that frequency, then we should be able to reproduce it in more places.
You say the 2nd string, 3rd fret (which is G) creates the buzz. So tune that string down a full step to D. Now G will be on that string on the fifth fret. See if the buzz is gone from the 3rd fret, but now has moved to the 5th fret. Now tune that string up two full steps to F#. In this case G has moved to the first fret. See if the buzz has followed, and only occurs now at the first fret.

If the buzz truely moves wherever G occurs, then I think that would confirm a resonance to that particular frequency on that instrument, and is not related to fret buzz, action, relief, etc.

I like your thinking!

I just replaced the strings with a different brand/type to see if that helps. I'll get on to your suggestion that as soon as the new strings settle in.

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 07:55 PM
It is very common for ukuleles with a piezo or under-saddle pickup to develop a buzz in an empty jack, or by poor wire routing. Instruments with battery/EQ installed are also capable of buzzing. I've had this problem with my custom uke and with a Kamaka uke after installing Mi-Si pickups.

Thanks, but that doesn't apply here.

robinboyd
07-18-2017, 11:07 PM
FIXED!!!!! Pueo's advice to try different strings and see what happens did the trick. It seems that this uke and PHD strings just don't get along.

Croaky Keith
07-19-2017, 12:17 AM
Glad to hear you have it sorted - now go & enjoy it. :)

dickadcock
07-19-2017, 04:33 AM
Sounds like you are in good shape now -- but, for future reference, that sound sometimes comes from the nut slot needing adjustment or a minor reshaping where the string goes over the saddle.

bird's eye view of my ukelele
07-19-2017, 05:12 PM
i was following this thread yesterday, wanted to post but didn't have anything useful to say, except "it's such a lovely uke, i hope you get it sorted"! so - i am really happy it's fixed! :rock:

robinboyd
07-19-2017, 05:43 PM
i was following this thread yesterday, wanted to post but didn't have anything useful to say, except "it's such a lovely uke, i hope you get it sorted"! so - i am really happy it's fixed! :rock:

I'll write a bit of a review now that I've worked out most of the issues with it. It's a really unique uke, and I want to give the maker a bit of publicity. I held off on writing the review, because I didn't want to say anything negative if I was able to sort out the issues.

Pueo
07-19-2017, 07:17 PM
Yay! So glad to hear it is resolved.
I have had mine for a little over eight (and seven) years now, love them both very much.

hmgberg
07-20-2017, 02:41 AM
Glad to hear that the problem has been solved. For future reference, what Demick discusses is sometimes called a "wolf tone." His method for identifying it is right on. Here's a description:

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/wolf-tone/

robinboyd
07-20-2017, 02:32 PM
Glad to hear that the problem has been solved. For future reference, what Demick discusses is sometimes called a "wolf tone." His method for identifying it is right on. Here's a description:

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/wolf-tone/

Thanks. That sounds exactly like what I was dealing with.

bearbike137
07-20-2017, 03:54 PM
Thanks. That sounds exactly like what I was dealing with.

But wolf tones don't generally buzz. They "thunk"!